Familiar problems plague ASU in loss

Rebounding. Free throw shooting. Lack of offensive execution. These shortcomings continue to reappear for ASU and the results follow accordingly. The hole the Sun Devils dug themselves in the first half made their second half comeback that much harder to achieve, as they drop their second consecutive home game, 65-61, to Cal in front of 6,586 at Wells Fargo Arena.

California (8-7, 1-2 Pac-10) never trailed on Saturday afternoon and stormed out of the gates behind the sharp three-point shooting of Jorge Gutierrez to jump to a 10-2 lead at the 14:31 mark. Their advantage reached 12 points, 22-10 at with 7:17 left in the half, but a good defensive effort by Arizona State (8-7, 1-3) to close out the period prevented that lead from further increasing. Three pointers by Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks cut down the deficit to 31-23 at halftime.

After shooting 37.5 percent in the first half, the Sun Devils found their offensive rhythm, especially in the opening minutes of the second stanza, shooting 48.3 percent for the period. Abbott heated up again from beyond the arc and his long range jumper tied the game a 40-40 at the 12:05 mark.

The Bears' Alan Crabbe started to heat up himself beyond the arc and gave his team a 58-49 edge with 5:32 left in the contest. But once again Abbott and Kuksiks gave the maroon and gold some hope as their long range shooting, along with a dunk by Carrick Felix made it a 62-59 game with 1:27 left.

In their ensuing possession ASU had four consecutive three-point attempts trying to tie up the game, but misfired on all of them and saw the visitors make three of their last four free throws to capture their first league win of the season.

Abbott led ASU with 18 points, 14 of them coming in the second half, as well as six rebounds. Kuksiks was the only other Sun Devil player in double figures with 10 points. Ruslan Pateev was the unlikely assist leader with four. Gutierrez led all players with 21 points.

The Sun Devils were dominated on the boards to the tune of 43-27 and surrendered 18 offensive rebounds. They shot 64.3 percent from the line (9-14) and 28.6 percent from three-point territory (6-21).

Last season ASU started 0-2 in Pac-10 play and revamped their offense which resulted in a second place finish in the conference. Head coach Herb Sendek stated that a similar change this season would not be feasible.

"I don't think we have the same realm of possibility," Sendek explained. "We have an entirely different team than we had a year ago, so I don't see that as being necessarily the answer. I think we've got to get better at what we do, and I don't think it's a function of schematics."

ASU will try to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season, as they play their last non-conference game of the season, hosting Tulsa Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories